Letting my cocoa drip into the sea
I watched the sweet brown drops dissolve
in the calm, transparent, salty Adriatic,
then vanish in the space of a moment.
'Today I've reached the age,'
my mother said as we finished breakfast,
'my own mother was the day she died.'
I dived off a cliff into the water.
Last year I too knew the exact day
(I'd worked it out weeks in advance)
I reached the age my father
was when I was born.
It was a boring weekday, Wednesday,
we sipped morning coffee together in bed,
I felt your stubble when I kissed you,
like the prickly realization inside me
no-one would upend that sandglass again.
--- Translated by Christopher Whyte§ § §
CHRISTMAS SHOPPINGIt had chilled down, grown dark, I was waiting
for you after a quarrel: glaring at every tram
in the square, noting how the more people passed
the more they resembled each other: the crowd
was getting on my nerves. I was frozen. If only
I could hold you, I thought, I could forget everything.
It no longer mattered that it had started snowing.
Every bone in my body was turning to ice,
so in the end I walked home through the snow
carrying my bags. You had left the butter on
the kitchen table and a half-eaten sandwich by the computer,
your muddy footprints led from the balcony
towards the kitchen. I put some music on,
did the laundry and washed up. Before going to bed
I decorated the tree so should you call at night
you would find everything in order
and quietly creep into bed beside me.
--- Translated by George Szirtes
From New Order
Hungarian Poets of
The Post-1898 Generation
©2011 Arc Publications